The Heart Cable

I was very flattered to have my ‘Fickle’ design featured in Rowan Yarn’s iconic pattern publication ‘Rowan Book 10’. ‘Fickle’ sweater and hat featured cabled heart motifs and is a stitch pattern that I have returned to many times over the years. This Valentine’s it feels right that I embrace the Heart Cable once again in my designs for Queenie Bobble Hat and Roses Mittens using the beautiful Yarntelier Cashmere Gilli.


I joined Rowan Yarns, straight from college in 1991, my daytime job entailed coordinating the production of display garments, and my evenings were spent with needles and yarn, designing. The idea for the Heart Cable evolved as I played with stitches and garment ideas. To me the most fascinating element of hand knitting is how the knitted stitch can be manipulated to create pattern. Through a process of trial and error I knitted many swatches until I was happy with the stitch combinations that created the outline of a heart.

Early in the spring of 1991 Kathleen Hargreaves, Rowan’s design manager asked me if I would like to submit a design for the Autumn Winter collection, I submitted at least 10 designs, but the Cabled Heart design was the one selected, I called it ‘Fickle’ as it had a heart on the sleeve.


I remember the buzz in the design studio when Kathleen and Kim Hargreaves, Rowan’s in-house designer, returned from the photography shoot, they realised that the team who had worked on this book had created something very special.  The collection was themed around Arthur Ransome’s ‘Swallows & Amazons’. The stylist, Karen Harrison and Hair & Make-up artist, Ruth Funnell embraced the story with props, bows, arrows, feathers, twigs and face paint. Joey Toller the photographer found amazing locations, rivers with boats, streams and campsites, and put together the cast of models, Kate Moss and Pippa Cooper and actors, Simon Jessop and Nick Pope to convey the books narrative. When the book was launched it received mixed reviews, some knitters loved the story and the styling, others did not, however, Rowan Book Number 10 went on to become one of Rowan’s most iconic pattern publications and changed the perception of ‘knitting books’ forever. And, I am thrilled to have been part of that story.  

Louisa Harding